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Archive for August, 2011

No Need of Kindergarten – Part 2 of 3

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it” is a famous quote by Edmund Burke, who was an 18th-century British statesman and philosopher.  This eloquent saying speaks volumes about life and how the simplest of lessons can be forgotten—oftentimes with disastrous consequences.

Ask any handful of adults to come up with any number of clichés that they can think of, and I’d be willing to bet that more than a few would come up with some version of this one.

When I look out across the world and take in all of its beauty, sometimes it’s hard to look past all of the wretchedness that comes with it.  There’s just so much pain and sadness out there that it makes my eyes well up whenever I think about it for too long, yet I do everything I can to focus on the good so that I can be as powerful an inspiration as possible to those that I love.  But the deeper I get into midlife the harder I find it is to accept the fact that the human race, as a whole, has as of yet been unable to learn from the mistakes of its past.

My father was a remarkable man and he did everything he could to teach me about how the world really works.  My mother is a sweet and caring woman and she raised me with all the love and support that a child could ever hope for. As I got older and stepped out into life on my own, my brilliant uncle Moe was there to assist me with his shrewd business acumen and glorious wisdom.

These wonderful and influential people passed on to me their gifts like batons of dazzling knowledge, which I then held with all the might I could muster as I sprinted toward becoming the confident man that I am today.

The world would be a far better place if those that have come before us would only do a better job of instilling within their children all of the lessons that they’ve learned throughout the course of their lives… Doing so would allow each successive generation to build upon all of this knowledge along with all of those experiences to make better futures for not only themselves, but everyone else as well.

This type of forward-thinking is exactly what my friend employed from the very moment her daughter came into this world.  She was being read to from virtually day one and always had a limitless array of coloring books and crayons to create with.  This blessed little girl had so many positives going for her that what happened last week was almost inevitable.

Every time I tell people that story, about how, at four years old, she put me in my place while reminiscing, they look at her in awe.  Recently she started kindergarten and my friend was a nervous wreck.  Her baby wasn’t a baby anymore, but all of us knew that she was going to be just fine—especially her father.

And wouldn’t you know it, on the last day of her first week of kindergarten, my friend got a call from her daughter’s teacher.  She wanted to know if it would be OK for her to skip kindergarten altogether and start first grade the following Monday… And actually, based on her test results, she could have started the second grade, but my friend was only going to allow her to skip one grade.

Well, for the time being anyway…

No Need of Kindergarten – Part 1 of 3

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

The word “cliché” conjures up a river of trite and/or negative expressions which have lost their meaning as the years have passed.  But what I’ve always felt most people totally miss about this word is that at one time, regardless of the context with which you’re speaking about a particular subject nowadays, it was once held to be so true that it warranted its own unique saying…

One that would shed such a bright and dazzling light upon itself that people would never again find themselves at the mercy of its lesson.

Though I’m well past the point of my life where I’m surprised by just how foolish and shortsighted today’s youth and especially grown adults can still be, I’ve made a career out of and built an empire around the triumph of our collective wisdom.  Learning from the lessons of those who’ve come before us and taking them not only to heart, but implementing them into every possible facet of our everyday lives is what I believe will help us reach those most enlightened planes of existence.

And this wondrous belief has never been more charmingly affirmed to me than it was at the end of last week.

I have a handful of friends I grew up with that I still keep in touch with and see as often as I can—which sadly ends up only being a few times a year.  One of the girls I’ve known since the sixth grade, and a few months back her only daughter turned five.  Now unfortunately I didn’t get to meet her until she was almost two years old, which wound up being only my loss.  This little girl is precociousness personified and I can honestly say that I have had more intelligent conversations with her than with some of the adults that I see on a regular basis.

And to prove that I’m not just exaggerating, the following is the story I always tell people when describing her level of development and awareness:

Two years ago when the Los Angeles Lakers were battling the Orlando Magic in the Finals, I was over at their house enjoying one of the games.  There was about a dozen or so family members and friends running around and at one point I was sitting next to her, reading aloud from one of her dinosaur books.  As she was pronouncing perfectly even the most difficult of the names, one of her little cousins briefly joined us as we read through the rest of the book.

A nice little memory for sure, but I’ve barely even scratched the surface of this yarn.

So about a year later I was over at their new apartment just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon.  I was sharing a bowl of grapes with her and looking at another one of her dinosaur books.  Now this wildly imaginative little girl, who was only four at the time, started telling me about one of her most recent outings.  She was going on and on in great detail, vividly explaining to me how one of her cousins had ended up getting them in trouble.

Time and time again she referenced him by name and finally I had to ask her who he was.  Barely missing a beat she told me that I had met him before, but the more she delved into her story, the more I realized that I had no idea who she was talking about.  Again I asked her who this cousin was that was the focal point of her tale, and at that point it became clear to her that I didn’t remember meeting him.

She then, and I will never forget this, let out an exasperated and dramatic breath and said, in the most put upon huff I’ve ever seen, “Daven, you know him!  You met my cousin last year when you were reading us my dinosaur book and we were watching the Lakers championship game.”

It then of course dawned on me that she was right, I did know who he was… I looked over at my friend and she was just laughing at me.

Put in my place while being reminisced on by a four year old… That’s how sharp and quick-witted this little girl is.

Riding with the Light

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

With the weekend fast approaching I realized that I didn’t have any plans.  It was a couple minutes past four on Friday and I was sitting at my desk.  Everything was put away and there was nothing really more I could do.  The last two months had flashed passed in a dizzying blur of nonstop work.  I’d gotten a tremendous amount done, but as I sat there desperately needing something to work on, it dawned on me why I didn’t have any plans for the weekend.

As soon as these sullen thoughts crept into my mind I tried to ignore them by turning on the news.  I just sort of looked at the segments as they careened across my computer screen.  The riots in London, the crumbling American economy, more soldiers killed in Afghanistan and the soul crushing famine in the Horn of Africa—all of it was just too much to bear.  But as the broadcast segued closer to the more uplifting stories that it always features near the end, I saw something I hadn’t thought about in years.

Right on schedule the Perseid meteor shower was going to be streaking across the sky for the whole weekend.  You can see it somewhat toward the end of July, but it hits its magnificent peak from August 9th through the 14th.  Those closest to me know I can get so easily wrapped up in growing my various businesses that I sometimes lose sight of what truly matters, but this is more a testament to my tireless dedication and unyielding work ethic than to who I really am.

I immediately picked up the phone and called my girlfriend.  I was planning on leaving a rather sweet message because (a) I’d been neglecting her a little over these past few weeks and although she understood why, I knew she wasn’t happy about it, and (b) I just didn’t think she’d answer my call.  But to my surprise she did and I practically begged her to let me see her that evening.  Luckily for me she acquiesced to my request, so I headed straight over to the supermarket and bought everything I needed to make her favorite meal.

By the time she arrived that evening I had everything setup absolutely beautifully.  We dined by candlelight and drank expensive wine.  I told her how much she meant to me and how sorry I was for letting work stuff get in the way of our relationship.  With a warm smile that bordered on being a sly grin, she accepted my apology.  After dinner we watched a movie then I told her about the meteor shower.  I wanted to watch it with her in my arms, so I said that in order for us to do this we would need to stay up as late as possible tonight, so that tomorrow we would have the necessary strength to see it for as long as we could.

But this wonderful idea struck her as being so romantic that she couldn’t wait until tomorrow to do it.  We talked for a while then went outside and laid atop a blanket, wrapped ourselves in each other’s arms, and gazed up at the heavens.  I’ve read in numerous places and witnessed with my very own eyes, that the Perseids offer at least one shooting star a minute… and this year was no exception.

The temperature was absolutely perfect that night, so time just seemed to melt away.  We talked about family, friends, and all the memories that we’d shared together, and every minute or so a flash of light would tear across the sky.  No matter how many times this happened it always seemed like it was the first one we saw together.

There we were, just the two of us with all those rocks burning up in the atmosphere, riding with the light.

The Beauty of Rhythm

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Though they say life is a journey and you should never stop learning and experiencing all that you can, it’s also important not to forget all those other little lessons you’ve picked up along the way.  As the years and decades start to pass, it’s incredibly easy to fall back into some of those old familiar patterns and habits you use to employ.

Even though I see myself as a lightning rod of inspiration for all those around me, I’m still only human, and at times I find myself getting frustrated and overwhelmed by the mundane realities and general limitations of everyday life.

When I was younger I knew exactly how to deal with these kinds of situations.  Well maybe not “exactly”, but there were indeed facets of my personality that saw the world in a way that told me I was on to something beautiful.  Whenever it felt like the walls were closing in, I’d take an hour or so and just get lost listening to my favorite music.  Sometimes I’d listen to entire albums or jump around from song to song, which in those days was a bit of a taxing chore because this was before iPods.  And still there were other times when I’d listen to the same song over and over and over again.  I’d just get lost in the beauty of the rhythm of whatever compilation I was feeling at that particular moment, and before I knew it an hour would’ve passed and my head would be clear.

I started thinking about this today as I headed out to lunch.  I had a particularly demoralizing morning at the office, so I felt like treating myself to a fine meal at an expensive restaurant.  Not wanting anything more from this world to intrude upon my thoughts at that very moment, I immediately punched off the radio as soon as I fired up my car.  I was in a bit of a mood, as I’m sure you can tell, and as I drove in silence stewing in my own irritation I missed a turn and ended up getting caught in traffic.  A road crew was repaving the street and it took me 15 minutes to get back where I needed to.

Finally it dawned on me how my attitude was making the whole situation worse, so after I calmed down I had plenty of time to think.  My mind went straight for all those countless hours I’d spent getting lost in all the music that I loved.  I could feel my mood changing already so I just decided to let my thoughts roam wherever they wanted…

Earlier in my career it’d been this kind of passionately intellectual escape that fueled my desire and drive, which eventually led me to become the Father of the Electronic Music Scene.  Just the thought of those memories is enough to affect my demeanor for the better.  I was once one of the biggest club promoters in the entire country and those times were as vivid as they were thrilling. Imagine tens of thousands of people getting lost in the moment in a beautiful whirlwind of excitement and color as a pulsating relentless beat made everybody feel like they were going to live forever.

Now there was a smile on my face and the restaurant was just up ahead.  But I wasn’t hungry anymore so I shot right past it and headed to a little spot I found a few years ago.  It’s got this incredible view of the surrounding region and as I pulled up I’d already fished my iPod out of my briefcase.

With the headphones already on I leapt outta my car and left every last one of the day’s frustrations behind me.